Dead Space Reader Review
What a great game. This has had to bide its time. Respectfully waiting in the queue behind the likes of fable 2, GOW2 and Fallout 3. I had a quick look at this on its release before benching it for a while. I spent a little while dithering about the difficulty level on which to play it, due to the forum discussions about the relative merits of the hard level. In the end I decided to play it through on the hard level. I believe I made the right choice. The game is often unbearable tense and it manages to sustain its momentum almost until the end. The atmosphere is aided by some spectacular lighting effects and an amazingly ambient and creepy soundtrack. I bought some special headphones to heighten the experience and allow me to play it at the desired volume late at night. The developers have done a great job creating such a tangible environment. It really feels like you are exploring a giant space ship. Everything has such a weight to it and the textures are amazing.
I really appreciated the route finding device that leads you to your next objective. It was such a blessing to be able to follow the line when you are not sure where to go, rather than having to keep interrupting play to access a map screen. In fact - it renders the map obsolete. I never used it once. There was also a liberal spread of save points which was very welcome for such a tense game. By and large, Redwood have shown themselves to be very sensitive to the needs of the gamer. They did let themselves down though on the final boss. It was spectacular but I would have appreciated a checkpoint mid battle. When will developers learn that having to repeat a multistage boss battle from the beginning is no fun at all.
The range of weaponry was a lot of fun and the varying enemy types allowed for some interesting tactical decisions about how to prevail and conserve as much ammunition as possible. The upgrade tree was a lot of fun as well, especially when you have powered up your chosen weapon. I would certainly recommend just choosing 2 or three weapons and powering them up along with your rig and stasis module. I went with the plasma cutter and pulse rifle through the first 2/3 of the game and got into the line gun later on. The line gun is really quite overpowered and makes the usually tense fights quite easy.
It was great fun being able to start the game from scratch at the end with all your powered up weapons and a bit of extra booty to buy some new ones with. It really encouraged you to play through again. It was fantastic going on a glory run, rampaging through the early levels with your powered up line rifle, blasting through the difficulty spikes that had held you up the first time without even breaking sweat. I guess that is what playing it on easy or normal must have been like the first time through, rather than the tense exhilarating experience that this was.
9 / 10